“The law says that there is only one possible Barth in all the world. And you aren’t it. You’re just a number. And a letter. The letter H.”

Orson Scott Card, Fat Farm

This week’s Neuroscience in Fiction pick is Fat Farm, by bestselling author of the Enderverse Orson Scott Card.

Martin Barth is a man with an insatiable appetite and a serious yo-yoing weight problem. Technology and wealth have helped him before, but in the end he must face the unforeseen consequences of his relentless pursuit of pleasure, youth and an ideal BMI.

Orson Scott Card said that he wrote Fat Farm in frustration with his own struggles with weight gain and loss. The story is part of the collection Maps in a Mirror, and a comic book version appears in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show.

Fat Farm touches upon multiple neuroscience themes, including the nature of self, consciousness, and perhaps most intriguingly, habit formation and maintenance.

For extra credit, check out our Fat Tuesday posts, where Steve and I discuss the neuroscience and psychology of hunger, satiety, weight gain and weight loss.


-Susana Martinez-Conde